Thanks for the question Olanrewaju. We are taking it one step at a time but working to build a platform that can accommodate the different conditions in each nation. We also need to provide functionality that allows each nation to control their recyclability thresholds to generate wide acceptance in each nation. The 'standard' is therefore just defined by the framework and the parameters that define recyclability.
Hi Kate, Our team (Jahrita Ungell et al) has plenty of work to do to bring this idea to fruition. We need to determine what ingredients are needed to produce a biscuit that won't readily crack or dissolve when sitting atop a hot beverage and how we are able to address the presence of mould, both isolation and treatment.
We then need to build a business case that considers the costs of production and the benefits to the cafe and producer.
The feedback was good as people could see the benefit of doing away with the plastic lids. It was varied though with some respondents seeing the benefits of using the waste coffee grounds whereas others preferring the idea of producing an edible biscuit to replace the plastic lid (small sample only). It was certainly a good idea to have the prototype there to show the coffee drinkers, which helped to validate the technical feasibility of the idea.
In Australia, coffee businesses are already looking at the recovery of coffee grounds for re-purposing, with Planet Ark championing this initiative (http://planetark.org/campaigns/coffee.cfm). We would therefore work closely with Planet Ark to progress this idea as they are looking at higher value solutions rather than just composting. We are also connected to the Australian Coffee Traders Association, which has recently formed a committee to consider sustainability initiatives that should be instigated by the local industry, including coffee grounds recovery. The industry momentum is clearly there to recover the grounds and we may have a good solution for adding value and simultaneously removing plastic lids from the industry.
The other area that is seeing increased momentum in Australia is the the recycling of food waste in the green waste kerbside collections ("FOGO"). Many Councils now allow this to occur and the availability of this service is expected to increase rapidly. With widespread access to a food waste recycling services, coffee consumers will be able to dispose the Loop Its in the FOGO bins, thereby avoiding landfill.
Even if the Loop It is disposed to landfill though, this solution would at least give the coffee grounds one more life by replacing plastic.
In terms of sustainability, Loop Its can only be produced if coffee is being consumed, so the idea is considered to be an example of the circular economy.